The four vital signs are taken at routine clinic visits. In previous posts, I’ve discussed blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. Respiratory rate is the 4th classic vital sign. Respiratory rate is the number of breaths that a person takes in a minute. The normal rate of breathing varies with age. Babies and children breath faster than adults. As we age, our lung capacity starts to decrease, and the respiratory rate goes up slightly. The normal range for an older adult is a respiratory rate of 14-20 at rest.
My Dad has lived with us for two years ever since Mom died. He’s 87 now and has become more and more disabled due to recurrent strokes. Is there a better way to control his hypertension? He’s on 3 medicines and his blood pressure is still over 160. His doctor is suggesting another medicine. I’m very worried because he needs help walking. His pressure drops below 95 when he stands up. He gets dizzy and he falls a lot. I think it’s because of his meds. What is the best blood pressure for this person? […]
My Dad is 85 years old. He has had hypertension for decades, but it is getting harder to control. He’s on 2 medicines and his blood pressure is still over 160. His doctor is suggesting another medicine. Is that a good idea? We all know that hypertension is bad. How important is it to decrease the systolic pressure below 160 mm in a patient who is over 80 years old? This is the first of two articles about blood pressure. The first article discusses the benefits of treatment. The second article discusses a challenging and […]
My Mom is 86 years old and “frail”. She has been in and out of the hospital for heart problems. I’ve been checking her oxygen levels, her blood pressure, and her heart rate. Her heart rate is usually around 55. Sometimes it dips as low as 48 then goes back up. That seems slow to me. Her PCP says that her slow heart rate is due to her medicines. Is her heart rate too slow? Is it making her weaker? Is she getting enough oxygen to her brain? In the above scenario, the patient’s heart […]
Tom is the main caregiver for his mom, Beth. He is worried that she’s sick. He calls the doctor: “Hi Doctor, I’m worried about my mom. She just doesn’t seem herself. She doesn’t want to get out of bed. She looks weak. She recognizes me but she isn’t talking. She’s not eating either.” Does she have a fever? “I’m not sure, she feels kinda warm.” How do you know when a frail older person has become sick? In this and future posts I will talk about the importance of They are called “vital” signs for […]